KANEOHE, Hawaii (KHON2) — Honolulu police opened an arson investigation after a fire destroyed the office of a Windward Oahu animal shelter.
Ka’a’awa K9 Rescue used a bus to house their office supplies and paperwork, but it turned into a burnt shell due a fire on Friday, April 29.
Honolulu Fire Department officials told KHON2 that the fire was intentionally set and started near the front of the bus. All of the dogs and humans are okay, but a lot of cleanup has yet to be done.
“I was like, brah, I feel so relieved,” said Jane Hose, volunteer and family friend of Ka’a’awa K9 Rescue. “But now it’s, you know, you kind of look at it in disappointment. Like now, where does she go from here?”
Hose said she wasn’t really an animal person until she met Michelle Cooley, founder of Ka’a’awa K9 Rescue.
“Meeting Michelle and like watching her with the dogs and watching how patient she is,” Hose said, “I don’t think she, self-wise, realizes how much she helps people with helping these dogs and helping the community around her.”
Fire officials estimated the total damage was $3,500 to the bus and its contents, but the value is far greater to the shelter.
The vehicle held information and crucial medical supplies for the no-kill shelter.
“Freezers of raw meat for the dogs, and medications, vaccinations, monthly preventatives, IV bags,” Cooley said.
“All her files for like adoptions, people applying to adopt dogs, you know, the records she kept with like the vet visits and all of that in there,” Hose said.
It could have been a lot worse, however.
“It could have escalated to family’s houses getting burnt, you know, like neighbors or stuff like that,” Hose said. “And I was kind of thinking, like, ‘Dude, what if the tree caught on fire?'”
A large tree hangs over the bus — the same tree drapes over where the dogs are housed about 20 yards away.
“Literally, I am surprised that the roof of the kennels actually didn’t catch on fire because that’s what it looked like, the flames were all the way over there! Like I’m so surprised and so thankful,” Cooley said.
Cooley is asking for community support, starting with a dumpster to organize what needs to be trashed. She also said the dogs need a place to call their forever home, and called on the community to come adopt.
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“They’re all spayed and neutered and, you know, they’re at healthy weights and, you know, they just need a little bit of love and attention,” Cooley said.